06 August 2007
Film Review: Sunshine (****)
If you haven't heard of Sunshine yet (not sure it's nationally distributed as of today) you should make it a point to. Sporting the most ludicrous premise since The Core, but with actual CERN particle physicists consulting on the technobabble, I was praying that, since Danny Boyle directed it, it would rock despite that.
It was a marvellously engaging film, featuring a breathtaking scope that should be seen on the big screen to be truly appreciated. The plot wore its influences on its sleeve (2001, 2010, Solaris, Event Horizon, chiefly) but managed to be an entirely other creature, melding (seeming) hard science with Big Questions about humanity and existence effortlessly. It was not without its faults, but dragging narratives and overly complex McGuffins are beautifully papered over with impeccable visual style and mostly excellent performances.
Additionally, Chris Evans does NOT suck in this, although his character is not, methinks, a stretch for him. Also, the subtext of much of the film appears to be,
"Look! Look at how eerily beautiful Cillian Murphy's electric blue eyes are!
And look! Look at how long and feathery his dark, dark eyelashes are! Bathe in his creepy beauty!"
His strange hotness is exploited greatly in this film, and I, for one, appreciated it greatly. He also turns in a compelling performance, cementing him as Mr. Boyle's new Mr. McGregor. Michelle Yeoh, who is fabulous, is somewhat wasted in a supporting role, but it's nice to see her face, and to see that she's working. (Seriously.)
Proving that, post The Beach, Boyle has embraced whatever genre tickles his fancy with serious commitment (see: 28 Days Later), this is such a confident endeavour that you would be hard-pressed to believe this was the man who brought us A Life Less Ordinary! The CGI is stunning, flawless, and simply HUGE, and the concepts and the scope are almost overaweing.
Overall, a great summer film.
The score, by John Murphy and British Techno-Savants Underworld (best known for the closing song from (Danny directed) Trainspotting, "Dirty Epic"), adds a nice analog sheen to the proceedings, hearkening back to the better synth scores of the 70's and 80's. I felt that their more "Sound Designey" cues worked better than some of the more synth-string heavy "Emotional" cues, but I may have just been being snobby about their choice of string patch. There is some nice guitar work on display as well, ranging from some lovely ambient finger-picking to driving rock riffs. On the whole, they crafted a resonant, singular, and effective sonic environment for the film. Also, special mention of their ability to know when to NOT to place music cues. Flawless placement in that regard.
So I'll give it a 4 out of 5 stars. Despite some unsuccessful plot choices, Sunshine succeeds in being a wholly watchable and gripping film. Smarter than the average "This is the way the world ends!" picture by a long shot!
Go see it and tell me what you thought!
(Shirtless pics: classichunkofman.com, justjared Websites: IMDb, Fox Searchlight Pictures)